Definition of an Operator
An Operator, as defined in The Waterworks and Sewage Works Regulations, is a person who adjusts, inspects or evaluates a process that controls the effectiveness or efficiency of sewage works or waterworks and includes:
- a person who adjusts or directs the flow, pressure or quality of the water within sewage works or waterworks; and
- an Operator in training
Definition of Direct Responsible Charge (DRC)
Direct Responsible Charge (DRC) is the active daily technical direction and supervision or active daily accountability for process control decision of a facility or major segment of a facility, that directly impact public health or the environment. This can only occur when the facility owners designate a position held by any Operator(s) to be DRC. The owner of a facility can designate a number of DRCs for that facility.
The Operator Certification Board issues certificates within the four areas of treatment (water and wastewater), distribution and collection. Each area consists of four levels of certification. These areas are:
- Water Treatment Level 1 to Level 4
- Water Distribution Level 1 to Level 4
- Wastewater Treatment Level 1 to Level 4
- Wastewater Collection Level 1 to Level 4
- Small Water System and Small Wastewater System
The requirements for certification consist of a combination of education and experience based upon the type and class of certification desired. All operators are required to pass a standardized exam prior to being eligible for certification.
The certification program is a stepped program starting with Class 1 and moving upward. All Operators must start by writing the Class 1 exam and moving toward their desired certification level; as the exams are progressive from one level to the next. On the other hand, for example, you do not need to apply and be certified as a Class 1 Operator before you can apply for Class 2, however you must write both Class one (1) and two (2) exams. As the criteria for certification changes through the different levels, you may apply for a Class 2 certificate and be approved because approval for the Class 2 would require you to meet the requirements for a Class 1 certificate as well. This rule applies for all areas and levels.
The certification program for Small Water and Small Wastewater System must start by writing the SWS and/or SWWS exam.
Basic requirements for applicants applying for certification are listed below. There are allowable substitutions for education and experience not listed here. If you would like to view this information, it can be found in the Water and Wastewater Works Operator Certification Standards, 2016.
Class 1 Operator
- Grade 12 education
- One year of operating experience
Class 2 Operator
- Grade 12 education
- Three years of operating experience
Class 3 Operator
- Grade 12 education plus two years post-secondary education
- For Water Treatment and Wastewater Treatment – Four years of operating experience with two of the four years in a Direct Responsible Charge (DRC) position, or four years of experience in a Class 4 facility.
- For Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection – Four years of operating experience. No DRC required.
Class 4 Operator
- Grade 12 education plus four years of post-secondary education
- For Water Treatment and Wastewater Treatment – four years of operating experience with two of the four years being DRC experience.
- For Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection – four years of experience.
Even though DRC is not a necessary requirement for some Level 3 and 4 applicants, it can be used to substitute for a shortage in post-secondary education. Therefore, you may be asked to provide authorization on your DRC even if you do not need it to meet the experience criteria.
Small Water System and Small Wastewater System
- Grade 10 education
- Six months of operating experience
- 0.6 CEUs of credit
For complete details on certification requirements refer to the Water and Wastewater Works Operator Certification Standards, 2016.